New Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant head coach and run-game coordinator Harold Goodwin didn't mince words Friday when asked about his disappointment over the firing of head coach Steve Wilks in Arizona after one season, and over the lack of minority hires around the NFL overall.
"That hurt a little bit," said Goodwin, who is African-American. "He's a friend of mine. We worked together back in the day with the Bears. It's hard to build something from the ground up with one year. It's like, 'Hey, I want you to start this Fortune 500 company, but you've got one year.' That's impossible. And that's what he was tasked with.
"But God will look after him. He'll be OK in the long run, and hopefully, he'll get another opportunity."
Five of the eight head coaches fired either during or after the 2018 season -- Wilks, Hue Jackson of the Cleveland Browns, Todd Bowles of the New York Jets, Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals and Vance Joseph of the Denver Broncos are black.
Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers and Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers are the only current black head coaches in the NFL.
Of the eight recent head-coaching vacancies, not a single minority has been among the six hires made.
Goodwin, who served as offensive coordinator under new Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians while with the Cardinals from 2013 to 2017, has interviewed for several head-coaching positions over the years, including with the Bucs in 2016, but he encountered several roadblocks.
"Every time I went in to interview, 'You don't call plays.' Well, I did call plays in the preseason," Goodwin said. Arians was the playcaller in the regular season. "Are we looking for playcallers or are we looking for leaders? Leaders of men, who can help build an organization from the ground up on the football side.
"The next excuse was, 'Well, we don't like your staff.' A lot of my staff is still coaching. Some guys are coordinators in the NFL now that have had a lot of success that were on my list."
"I will give credit to two owners -- [Buffalo Bills' Terry] Pegula and [Jacksonville Jaguars'] Shad Khan. They were actually in the interview," Goodwin said. "I can't say that about the others. So, those were real interviews. I appreciated that opportunity."
You would hope that NFL coaching vacancies are being filled by the best possible candidates, and the color of their skin has nothing to do with it.